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Why Is My String Of Pearls Turning Brown? (Causes+How To Fix)

Many strings of pearls owners report that they notice brown leaves or pearls on their string of pearls. However, that is a sign that your plant is suffering from some problem. There can be brown spots or brown tips, or the whole pearl can turn brown. But the question is why are the leaves of your string of pearls turning brown. Let’s find out.

Inadequate watering and unsuitable soil mix are the primary causes of brown leaves in a string of pearls. Other reasons such as sunburn and pests infestation can also lead to brown leaves. Use a well-draining soil mix and ensure your plant gets enough light and water to prevent further damage.

The kind of browning you notice on your string of pearls will help you identify what the underlying problem is. If you find difficulty figuring out the problem with your plant, we will help you with the same in this article.


I have done my best to address all of your concerns in the article below. However, if you still have any questions or are confused about the article, you can receive personalized one-on-one assistance from me by leaving a comment below. I will respond to your comment within a few hours.

Please note: Simplify Plants is reader-supported. Some links in the post are affiliate links and I get a commission from purchases made through links in the post.

String of pearls turning brown?

Let’s discuss the possible causes of brown leaves on your string of pearls. It will help to find the problem and fix it on time.

The string of pearls is known for its beautiful pearl-like leaves that make any house look good. These plants can tolerate extreme situations, but they will have brown leaves if something is wrong.

Some of the reasons that can cause brown leaves are:

  • Overwatering
  • External damages
  • Wrong soil mix
  • Too much sun exposure
  • Underwatering
  • Overfertilization
  • Type of water
  • Pest infestation
  • Stress due to cold weather
  • Environmental changes

The symptoms might be the same for different reasons, so it can be daunting to figure out the exact problem.

But we will understand all the causes in detail so that it is easier to treat the string of pearls.



Overwatering is a common problem, and it can have many symptoms, one of which is brown spots on the leaves.

The string of pearls is succulent, and they don’t need as much water as some other plants. But, many plant owners make the mistake of giving their string of pearls more water than required.

The string of pearls will have droopy leaves and start wilting other than turning yellow or brown if it is overwatered.

If you don’t treat overwatering on time, it can lead to more severe problems such as root rot that can even kill the plant. To avoid root rot, we need to take steps on time to prevent it.

Solution: If you want to avoid overwatering, you can follow these steps.

  1. Always check the moisture before watering the plant. Avoid watering if the soil is moist or wet.
  2. Come up with a watering schedule after understanding the water requirements of the plant.
  3. Check the pot’s drainage holes and ensure that they are working correctly and letting the excess water pass out of the system.
  4. Don’t let the string of pearls sit on water for too long.
  5. Check the soil’s moisture with the moisture meter before you water the plant again.

If the plant is overwatered and already showing problems, you need to repot the plant.

Also read: How Often Should You Water String Of Pearls?

External damages


The string of pearls is delicate, so you should be careful while handling it. Any external damage can stress the plant.

The string of pearls has green and firm leaves when they are healthy, but there are chances of damage if the plant gets hit by something.

If you move the plant from one location to the other or repot the plant, you should handle it delicately.

If the plant is already damaged, you can see unhealthy leaves on it that turn brown.

Solution: If the damage is not severe, the leaves can get back to health again. But in case of severe damage, you need to prune the brown leaves so that the plant can concentrate on new and healthy growth.

Also read: Where Should I Keep My String Of Pearls Plant?

Wrong soil mix


Using the wrong soil mix can have adverse effects on your string of pearls. 

The string of pearls prefers a well-draining soil that allows excess water to drain out of the system. 

If you are using the wrong soil mix, it will retain moisture, and the plant will sit on water for too long.

Even if you are giving the plant the right amount of water, using the wrong soil mix will create a similar environment to overwatering.

The roots will get affected, and the plant will not absorb enough water or nutrients from the soil. Thus, the plant will become weak, and the leaves will turn brown.

Solution: You can use a cactus mix or succulent mix that is available in the market. Or create the right soil mix that is well-draining and allows airflow in between the roots.

Also read: What Kind Of Soil Does String Of Pearls Need?

Too much sun exposure


The string of pearls doesn’t thrive in direct sunlight. If you place your plant under direct sunlight for long, it will develop problems, one of which is brown leaves.

The string of pearls can tolerate the direct morning sunlight, but it needs indirect sunlight for the rest of the day.

If you expose your string of pearls to direct sunlight, the plant will become dry, and the leaves will get scorched, due to which the leaves will turn brown or get discolored.

If you see brown tips on your string of pearls, it might be a reason for leaf burn.

Solution: If you have a sunburnt string of pearls, you need to prune the brown leaves as the damaged leaves will not become healthy anymore.

It is best to place the plant a few feet away from the window if it gets direct sunlight. You can use curtains or blinds to filter the light.

If you want to provide direct sunlight, you should expose the plant to the sun’s morning rays and move it away when the daylight starts becoming too harsh.

Also read: How Much Light Does String Of Pearls Need?


The string of pearls has low water requirements as it is drought-resistant succulents that can go long without water.

However, you can’t ignore it entirely and stop watering it. That will make the plant under-watered, dehydrated and dry.

When the string of pearls becomes dehydrated, the leaves show signs through brown tips.

If you don’t have a watering schedule, you will likely underwater your string of pearls.

Solution: Try to follow a watering regime so that you don’t miss watering the plant. You need to check the moisture of the soil before watering the string of pearls.

You can water the string of pearls once a week during the growing season and once every two to three weeks during the dormant period.


Liquid fertilizer

Fertilization is essential for fast growth in your string of pearls. However, these succulents don’t need much fertilizer.

Fertilizers help to boost the growth of the string of pearls. If you give excess fertilizers to your plant, it will start showing signs such as wilting, drooping leaves, and brown tips on the leaves.

Over-fertilization happens when you give fertilizers to your plant very often and if you use a very strong fertilizer.

Solution: The string of pearls is a light feeder, so you need to use a diluted liquid fertilizer with an NPK ratio of 10:10:10.

You can give fertilizer to the plant once or twice during the growing season and skip fertilizing during the winter season.

If you follow these, you will not have an over-fertilized string of pearls.

If you have an over-fertilized plant, you need to place the plant under running water and wash it. Do this three to four times to remove the excess fertilizer.

If the over-fertilization is extreme, you need to repot the plant.

After the plant recovers and the excess fertilizer is removed, you need to reduce the fertilizing and give it only what it needs.

Also read: Best fertilizer for a string of pearls

Type of water

In many areas, the water contains a lot of chlorine that is not good for the string of pearls.

When you give this water to your plant, the plant develops problems, and the leaves turn brown as a sign.

If you are using regular tap water and you notice brown spots on the pearls of your string of pearls, you can test that water to find out if it contains harmful minerals for your plant.

Solution: If your tap water has too much chlorine in it, you can switch and start giving rainwater or filtered water to your string of pearls.

If you don’t have the option to switch, you can keep the water outside and let the chlorine evaporate overnight, and then you can give that water to your string of pearls.

Pest infestation

string of pearls bug

Pests such as aphids or mealybugs can infest your string of pearls. These pests suck the nutrition out of the plant and make them weak.

Overwatering or under-watering, using the wrong soil, low light, etc., can invite the pets and help them thrive.

When you overwater the string of pearls, the roots start developing root rot, attracting pests.

If you have grouped your string of pearls with other plants, the chances are that pests can come from some other plant that is already infected.

You will notice brown tips on the leaves if pests have infested your string of pearls.

Solution: If you have a pest-infested plant, you need to remove it from the other plants so that the infestation doesn’t spread.

Give your plant a good shower to remove as many pests as possible. Don’t use freezing water as that can stress the plant, and be gentle while showering the plant.

You can start using organic remedies such as spraying neem oil solution on your plant.

You can get pesticides from the market but make sure that it doesn’t contain any harmful chemicals.

Spray any of these for at least 14 days to get rid of all pests and eggs. Don’t go overboard, as too much pesticide can damage the plant. Prune the brown leaves so that the plant can focus its energy on recovering and growing healthy leaves.

Also read: How to get rid of bugs on a string of pearls?

Stress due to cold weather

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The string of pearls can tolerate lower temperatures of up to 50°F, but anything below that will cause stress to the string of pearls.

The temperature can go down during the winter, and that can cause stress to the plant.

The cold drafts coming from the window can also stress the plant, so you should place it away from the window during winter.

You should also keep the string of pearls away from radiators as the draft that comes from the radiators is not suitable for the string of pearls.

You should ensure that the humidity levels don’t drop too low. If the humidity gets low, you can use a humidifier to increase the humidity level.

Also read: How To Care For String Of Pearls In Winter?

Environmental changes

The string of pearls can tolerate extreme weather conditions, but sudden changes can stress the plant.

If you want to make any environmental changes to the plant, you should do it gradually so that it doesn’t get stressed.

If you don’t give enough time to the plant to adjust to the changes, it will have stress, stunted growth, and yellow or brown leaves.

Final words

Brown tips or brown leaves are common issues found in all plants. You can treat it easily, but you need to take care of the plant to ensure that it doesn’t happen in the future.

If you take care of the daily requirements of your string of pearls, such as water, light, fertilizer, etc., you will be able to avoid all the trouble of seeing brown leaves on your plant.

Ref: WikipediaMissouri Botanical GardenUniversity of Wisconsin.

Recommended Garden Supplies

Are you looking for a readymade indoor plant soil mix that you can open and pour? Check out rePotme. They offer a wide range of readymade soil premixes for all your indoor plants.

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